ARC Review: In The End by Demitria Lunetta – RANT ALERT!

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Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publishing House: Harperteen
Number of pages: 448
Source: ARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

Disclaimer: There may be possible spoilers if you haven’t read book 1. BEWARE!

Ugh… this book.

Forgive me if you’ve heard me say this before, but I love zombie books. I always look forward to reading settings with these flesh-eating abominations and how the survivors would cope and deal with them. I want to see what steps they’ll take in order to live normally again, how they’ll manage the psychological warfare amongst each other that will inevitably come. The social collapse and how it will rise up again interest me a lot, as well as the ethics of a human person, and how low they will go when things become desperate. That’s why I love reading this subgenre so much – there’s so many themes to explore beyond the gore and the blood.

Unfortunately, In The End, the sequel to In The After which also serves as the end to the duology, somehow fell short. I was not very impressed with the first book, so I had hoped that the second installment would be more epic. While it certainly did give some answers with regards to the mystery of the Floraes, the main character was insufferable, the love triangle was annoying, and the pacing was awful.

In fact, if you ask me, I’d divide this book into two parts:

1.) The dragging prison arc where the same shit happens over and over again (the MC not learning from her mistakes each time), and;
2.) The ending which could just be the most rushed ending ever, while also portraying one of the most cliché villains in the worst way possible.

Just… ugh.

The Prison: Fort Black


Amy has left New Hope and has been in the wild for a few months now. She left Baby there and in the hands of Rice, hoping he will keep her safe. One day, the most predictable shit happened: Baby got taken by Dr. Reynolds, the eeeevil scientist! Well, I’m sure everybody saw that coming… how else would the plot move along, especially since Amy’s world revolves around Baby now? In any case, Kay instructs her to find her brother, Ken, in Fort Black – someone who will surely help her take Baby back.

Let’s talk about the positives: Fort Black is a shithole, and the book shows that grim atmosphere effectively. You can really feel the stink of desperation and starvation here, especially with how it’s crammed with 2000 people, some of them criminals, in extremely close quarters. Like how a prison goes, there is usually an alpha here who makes and enforces his own law, and does things that benefit him and keep others in line. I’m not sure I’d want to be in such an environment if this were to happen in real life. You may be safe from the “zombies” outside, but one should wonder if there are far worse dangers inside the walls.

But, see, Amy knows it’s dangerous. We know it’s dangerous. The MC describes the place enough for us to retch in its monstrosity. However, for some unworldly reason, she seems to have lost her common sense and sense of self-preservation, and every time she does something without thinking of it first, it drives me up a wall and I can’t help but feel so fucking annoyed.

1.) You wanna win the game? Then. Play. The. Fucking. Game. In this prison, the males rule. Many of them are former criminals, and it’s hard to fight against such brutality. This especially does not bode well for women, who find themselves victims of such people. In order to be protected from others, you need to be “claimed” by a man, ideally a powerful one with enough connections to intimidate other even worse men away. Amy was lucky enough to meet Jacks whose uncle was the Warden, and he decided to pretend to claim her so she can be protected from the sleazebags.

However, Amy is kinda… wishy-washy with this primitive concept. She at first recognizes the value of being under Jacks’ name. She’s still seen as fresh meat by the disgusting inmates, and this hinders her from reaching her goal. Yet, every now and then, she argues with him about being “owned” even though both of them know it’s merely a farce. She once even yelled at him about it (which could have compromised her already good situation since DUH JACKS IS THE WARDEN’S NEPHEW), to the point of running away from him which then led her to the arms of bad men who decided to take advantage of her. They almost won over her if they weren’t interrupted by superpower Brenna, who, bless her heart, reminded her that she’s just making her situation worse.

And I’m shaking my head here because she speaks the fucking truth. INSTEAD OF GOING AGAINST THE RULES, USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT. YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY HUNGRY MEN WHO DON’T HAVE ANYONE, NOT EVEN THE LAW BECAUSE IT’S USELESS AT THIS POINT, TO STOP THEM FROM ACTING ON THEIR WANTS.

Jesus.

… which leads to point numero dos.

2.) DON’T LET YOUR BRAIN GATHER DUST. USE IT.Look, I’m all for reckless girls, because that screams personality, but I like reckless girls who can use their brains. I want them to take their surroundings into consideration, and be one step ahead of everyone else, even if there’s a chance of their plans failing. Unfortunately, Amy seems to have lost it somewhere.

This is where it feels like this arc is dragging. This part of the book is pretty much composed of this:

* Find this guy, get attacked
* Rinse and repeat

I am not kidding.

It was so tiring to see Amy doing the same mistakes over and over again and then ending up facing the same consequences, and then whining about it later. “Don’t go out of the room!” *goes out anyway* *gets attacked* “Don’t step out while I’m away. We’ll find this person together.” *goes out by herself anyway* *gets attacked* “Don’t—” *goes out anyway* *gets attacked*

And this keeps happening over and over again, and it was so tiring to read the same developments being done in circles. Like okay, we get it, Amy’s recklessly reckless, and everyone’s out to kill her. CAN WE PLEASE MOVE ON AND, OH, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

2.) DON’T SAY SOMETHING AND THEN DO THE OPPOSITE. THAT. BLOWS.Ugh, this one pisses me off.

You see, I try not to take it against the book if it features a selfish character. All of us are selfish in our own little ways, and I get that. It makes the hero or the heroine far more relatable because it’s impossible to find a person absolutely and inherently selfless (I mean, it probably happens, but still, it’s probably a 1 in a million).

But it’s just a load of bullcrap when you say one thing and then do the other.

Somewhere along the way, we get a few revelations, and Amy gets into a heated conversation with Jacks. She tells him how what is being done in the prison is wrong, and how it degrades human life and all that. How it’s wrong to treat people like they’re expendable. I admired her little speech, but when she later is willing to trade someone else’s life for Baby’s, even if that person gets tortured and hurt in her place, I got pissed. 

Like, wow. Did you just forget that you were talking about how everyone was valuable, and now you’re saying their life isn’t really worth that much compared to Baby? That you’re willing to let them be hurt, possibly killed, as long as Baby’s okay? WHAT THE HELL.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand where Amy’s coming from. I’d probably do the same for my family and friends, for anyone who’s close and dear to my heart. But it would be so much better if she’s upfront about this from the very start, and didn’t say those things if she were going to do the opposite. That’s what pissing me off.

In any case, I felt this part was very dragging and migraine-inducing. The main character was so annoying she made me want to punch a wall. Thankfully, she gets out, and goes back to New Hope…

New Hope


Now this one is probably worse than the first, despite being waaaay shorter. This part feels very rushed, because we’re thrown to one event after another, all of them lacking build-up. It’s like they keep having and executing these plans, but since there’s no exposition or “real” conflict, it feels like things happen so smoothly and easily. Oh, we’re stuck? How convenient, I know just the person! Oh, we need this particular person to get to that part of the lab? Knock, knock! Who’s there? Oh, it’s me, the person you’re looking for! What a coincidence!

And this makes me sad a little because this part was way more interesting than the one in Fort Black. We get to see the real antagonists again, see the people we last saw in the previous book, yada yada yada, but it just doesn’t feel enough. Plus the fact there were a few grievances along the way:

1.) Cliché Villain. Seriously, I remember rolling my eyes when the antagonist went on this dramatic monologue (which in that span of time could have been used to kill him, but whatever, what do I know) how he did what he did because…

because…

wait for it…

wait for it…

BECAUSE HE HAD TO CLEAN HUMANITY’S MISTAKE AND THAT A RECONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD WAS IN ORDER!!!

…just like 1874056 other villains before him.

Dude. That “cleanse the world” reason is just so damn overused. It’s what I expect now, and I was seriously hoping there was another reason, even if it was cliché, as long as it was, you know, less cliché than that.

2.) Rushed. Ending. It doesn’t help the fact that we keep getting reminded of how crazy and manipulative and dangerous this antagonist was, that you’d expect there would be a drawn-out confrontation later, something explosive that would really end this shitty situation in a bang, only for him to be detained in a few pages by falling for the lamest of tricks. 

And I’m like:

“Shit, that’s all it took?! WHY HASN’T ANYONE DONE IT BEFORE IF IT WAS THAT FUCKING EASY?!”

I’m just so disappointed, you know? I expected way more than that crappy climax. It was over too soon and too conveniently. It felt like I was in a mad dash to the finish line and I wasn’t even able to look at my surroundings.

3.) AND. THAT. ENDING. Some people may say that the ending was an open one. I didn’t think it was an open ending because we got a concrete picture of what was going to happen (the resolution), but the problem is, the book ended just before that happened. And I feel pretty cheated, to be honest.

I don’t even want to think about the “closure” of the love triangle. It was the lamest closure I’ve ever seen. How do I explain this? It’s like she randomly chose someone between the two of them, and then left the other person to just take the hint. And you know what’s worse? It doesn’t feel like it was justifiable. I mean I get her reasons for choosing one over the other, but it felt like a cop-out to me. She spent a lot of time with each of them in the two books (one boy each), but it just didn’t feel right somehow. She somehow chose one dude while not explaining anything to the other guy, who didn’t even know he was in a love triangle in the first place.

I feel sorry for him.

Overall…


I’m disappointed. I wasn’t wow-ed by the first book, but I felt that was a stronger book than this one. It’s such a shame because I liked the author’s writing style, but it felt like this book was running out of ideas and started recycling and ending things early. I’ll still check out the Lunetta’s future works, because she has a lot of promise, but I don’t think I’ll be putting this one in my Hall of Faves.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Opening
Climax
Ending
Overall: 2.3


potato-question-in-the-end

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    That discussion question is hard…MAN! I’d be so torn, I’d be confused and frustrated, because I would want to do the right thing for the majority, but I’d hurt so much if I lose my loved one. And still, I’d want to do the right thing. (I’M NOT ANSWERING THAT QUESTION!)

    Okay, about the review. I feel your frustration. Like I said, it seems like Amy was being Bella. Told not to do something, but still does it. She sounds so frustrating I’d probably throw the book out the window! I have the 1st book on my TBR, but I don’t think I’d read it any time soon.

    The ending?! Based on your review, I’d be soooo frustrated. I’m so sorry that you had to endure finishing this book, but I am so glad that you did it for me. So thank you! :P
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 180 : We Were Liars by E. LockhartMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah… it would be hard to choose now, and even harder and more frustrating when you have to choose for real. Maybe I should refrain from answering it, too? XD

      In any case, yeah, she was probably being Bella (I am actually not sure because I never read the Twilight series). And yes, the ending really was just so WTF. It ended way before it had to!

    • FayeFaye says

      No problem! In that case, you made the right choice but skimming the review. I hope you fare better than I ever did!

    • FayeFaye says

      I know! Amy’s kick-ass in a way, yes, but her recklessness was so annoying. I wanted her to think a bit and see the bigger picture, but she was just so narrow-minded. And that ending! Lamest ending ever.

    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, it makes you sad? Hopefully, such a situation would never find us in our lifetime :) Although I truly doubt an apocalyptic event will happen soon! Well, unless of course the astrologers weren’t able to see a random 1000-meter meteorite coming our way….

  2. says

    Like you, I adore zombie books. I love the life and death situations and the intense focus it brings to the series. However, I do not have the patience required to bear a character like Amy for 448 PAGES!! I think this is why I can’t read YA for a while to many of these Amy types. No thanks, Faye. If the first book didn’t wow me I highly doubt I would’ve picked this up. Sorry it didn’t meet expectations. Great honest review! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Review: Laugh by Mary Ann RiversMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Yay, a kindred spirit! I love the intensity in them, too. I like seeing what drastic measures they will undergo when they face drastic situations. With that said, characters like Amy make them unbearable to plow through… Trust me, it took me a while to get over my annoyance with her. She was grating on my nerves A LOT.

  3. laila bc says

    I was never into zombie books…but I’ve read like two or three books with zombies in them hehehe but not as gory and grim like other books. Yikes! This one sounds really frustrating so it has no chance of ever seeing my shelf. Oddly enough I enjoyed reading ur honest review so thank you lol! And ur question at the end…I don’t know for the moment I probably wouldn’t…I haven’t felt that desperate ever.

    • FayeFaye says

      Aw, why aren’t you into them? Don’t you think these flesh-eating undead are so cute? Haha, just kidding ;) I understand if you don’t like them. They’re not for everyone, I agree. In any case, thank you for liking my review! It took me a while to write all of them and I think this is one of the longest I’ve ever written lol.

      And I hope we never get to such a situation where we have to choose between two difficult options. I’d probably break down o.O

  4. says

    Nooooooo! I loved book one, and have Bern so excited for this one. What the bloody he’ll? A duology. No, no. There was so much going on in the first book that it couldn’t have possibly wrapped up with such lacklustre. No wonder you used so many no no shaky head GIFS. I’m doing the exact same thing now. I think I’m going to let this one go. I’d honestly rather be left wondering than to be this disappointed.
    Kelly recently posted…Spark by Rachael Craw ReviewMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I know. I wish it was spread out to three books instead, maybe that way the love triangle could have ended more neatly, and the ending wouldn’t have been rushed and that there would be more build-up and exposition. It’s such a shame that a book’s ending has to be written in a rushed manner just because there are no more pages to spare :( If this were spread to another book, I really feel the author could have expounded on it more!

  5. says

    Ugh Faye this book sounds like one hot mess, how were you able to stick with the whole book? I think with Amy’s decision making and reckless behaviour I would have been tempted to give up on this book long ago. But then at the same time I would be highly curious to find out how things would end up. I’m sorry that this follow up book didn’t end up working out for you Faye. I do hope any of Lunetta’s future books work out a whole lot better!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: The Taking by Kimberly DertingMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Through sheer willpower alone, Jasprit. I myself an amazed what I can do if I just go “mind over matter… mind over matter… mind over matter…” Haha! I was tempted to give it up as well, but I was curious enough to know who she chooses in the end and how it will be resolved. Now I wish I didn’t because I feel like it was the worse path… they were all resolved so lamely -_-

    • FayeFaye says

      It’s okay, Jeann! I hope you have a better experience with both books than I did. I rated them 3 and 2, respectively o.O

  6. says

    Oh dear…you know it’s a bad sign when you start eye-rolling because it’s usually all downhill from that point on. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to a disappointing book Faye. :( Hopefully the next book you read makes you blissfully happy! PS: your gifs are priceless (I can spend hours upon hours searching for gifs). ♥
    Cristina recently posted…Meet the ReviewersMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah… cliché stuff make me cringe like no other. And thank you, Cristina! I read the Dresden files (the very first book) right after this one and it gave me all the warm fuzzies :)

    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, I can understand why. The first part was pretty good, but the parts after that were kinda meh. I really didn’t like the direction they took. :(

    • FayeFaye says

      LOL! That’s not nice, Stuti! If you were a real friend, you would have tried this one and suffered alongside me! But it’s okay, I like taking one for the team. I’m nice like that. *sticks out tongue*

  7. says

    I haven’t read the first book so I skimmed your review Faye, but yours is the second review I’ve read in as many days that has been less than glowing. Both of your reviews have listed the same frustrations with the plot dragging in some places and the love triangle, so I think I’m going to take a pass on this series. OR just stop after book one:)
    Jenny @ Supernatural Snark recently posted…Review: The Murder ComplexMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Hmmmm, although I fear you’ll still be compelled to read the rest after reading the first book :P I wish it could work as a stand-alone, but alas >.> In any case, I hope you like the first book way better than I ever did :)

  8. says

    I’m sorry to hear that this was a disappointment, Faye. I liked the first book and thought it was an interesting take on zombies, but I didn’t pick this one up for some reason. I made the right decision it seems. I despise love triangles, so that is enough to push me away from the book, but it also sounds like Amy is the sort of character who enjoys repeating her mistakes, a trait I’m not particularly fond of.
    I hope your next read is better, Faye.
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (76) : The Hit List by Nikki UrangMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah, the first book was far better in some aspects, and this one was kind of subpar :/ I can’t help but think it wouldn’t have been as bad if the series was stretched to a trilogy, it would have worked better.

  9. says

    Yeah i’ve heard some nor great things about this book and so it’s put me off reading the first one which i’d originally planned to read. It sucks that this one just didn’t work for you but honestly it sounds like this one was a pure headache more than anyhing. *sigh*
    lily recently posted…What Do you Like Reading By The Pool?My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      It wasn’t really a headache , just really really cringe-worthy with a lot of facepalm moments. Haha.

  10. says

    In the After was a definite “meh” read for me, so it’s a shame to hear this was so unlikeable in your opinion Faye! It’s a shame Amy was so irritating and that she never appeared to learn from her mistakes. That would absolutely bother me as well! Like you said, I understand character flaws, but that’s just simply out of proportion. And the cliche villain? No. Just no. I want originality in my villains please! I don’t need to read about a villain whose story I’ve already read 100 times!

    I had no idea this contained a love triangle. There was no sign of one in In the After, so it’s a shame one has to come up in the second installment. And it’s even worse that it appears to be so annoying. :|

    The sound of the pacing makes me cringe as well. If the same thing keeps happening over and over again – just in slightly different variations – than it truly starts becoming annoying. Pacing is huge for me in books; and it definitely doesn’t sound like I’d admire it here. :(

    I think I’ll be staying away from this one, but, honestly, my curiosity might just get the better of me. I’m sorry it was such a disappointing read for you Faye; but I feel you’ve explained your feelings very eloquently. As always, BRILLIANT review, and thanks for sharing! <3 I hope your next read is better! :)
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    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you for your comment, Zoe! It really was irritating to see Amy continue being so impulsively reckless. It’s like, girl, do you NOT see a pattern here? Look at your surroundings and consider your options carefully. It sucks to be in such an environment, but you really don’t have a choice because you’re surrounded by thugs. Don’t depend on them to change, just rely on yourself. It’s THAT easy!

      And seriously, that villain made me cringe HARD. I even had to tweet about it because his lines were just so awfully cheesy. And the pacing really was weird. It’s a duology, and I can’t help but think if it were a trilogy, we wouldn’t be having this problem at all…

  11. says

    I skimmed b/c I have book 1 pretty high up on my TBR list, and despite your issues with this one, I’ll more than likely read at least the first one. And, you know, I try to go into something as blindly as possible. I can, however, appreciate your section headings. *snickers* I completely agree about there being a HUGE difference between being reckless/impulsive and being TSTL. You’re right–reckless can be fun and a sign of an interesting character. But TSTL is just tedious. And pointless. B/c either they’re TSTL and thus DIE, or you get pissed off b/c they should be dead, and the continually fortuitous circumstances that prevent death are unrealistic, and well, maybe you even WANT them to die b/c TSTL. I didn’t even know this book was about zombies/had zombies/whatever. When am I going to start paying attention to blurbs, Faye? WHEN?
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    • FayeFaye says

      YES! I’ve met many reckless heroes and heroines who have proven to be enjoyable characters. I don’t mind them at all and I find them so quirky and fun to read, but TSTL heroines are in another level of annoyance. It’s just so exhausting and tedious as you said. In the real world, someone like Amy would have met her match already and may even had been killed by her own stupid decisions, so seeing her saved (by someone else or by luck) over and over again was also overkill. AND YES, PAY ATTENTION TO BLURBS :P It will save you so much time whether or not a book is for you! :P

  12. says

    I could have sworn I commented on this but maybe it was on your Goodreads review. I liked the first book until the action moved to New Hope, and then I began to lose interest. I started reading this one and just wasn’t feeling enthusiasm for it so decided to put it aside. Now that you’ve said that the first book was much stronger and that there’s a love triangle, not sure this one will be for me…
    Jen @ YA Romantics
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    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, yeah, it was on my Goodreads review, your comment. I liked the first part a lot too, and the New Hope bit was where my attention started wandering away. I don’t think you’ll miss anything if you do decide not to continue… there’s really nothing here that you haven’t read before :/

  13. says

    Aw, so sorry you didn’t like this, Faye. I can totally understand your frustration. It’s already frustrating me. I’m not really into reading this series anyway so not a big loss for me, but I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy, lovely! Some zombie books just aren’t up everyone’s alley and seems like this one definitely suffered from the second book syndrom =/
    Siiri recently posted…On Making a TBR JarMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Thanks, Siiri >:D< The second book syndrome it really had, yes. There are no books after this though >_< But it could have worked out better if there were.

  14. says

    I think I’ve heard of these two books before, though I can’t conjure the covers for the other one. And I’m a little disappointed after reading your review, because I would want to throw something too based on what you’re saying about it. That sounds simply stupid. I’m surprised you even stuck with finishing it! And now I know about that “cleanse the world” villain you hated so much.
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    • FayeFaye says

      Haha, I’m glad to know my review has moved you to the point of wanting to throw something else as well :P I’m surprised I held out as long as I did, but I had hope, you know? The writing wasn’t bad, it was pretty decent, it really was just the characters and that god-awful pace. Ugh. And don’t get me started on the villain D:

  15. says

    If it helps, I was highly entertained by your review. I’m also really bothered by whole book. If you’re going to display a risky plot in the book, stick it out. You either play it safe, or you don’t. It weakens the entire effect when you start to get cold feet right in the middle. Ugh. I’ll be avoiding this one.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #91My Profile

  16. says

    I actually enjoy one in this series a lot. I was quite excited so when I received the e-arc and was happy. After reading for about an hour I wanted to throw my Kindle out my window.
    I was so disappointed in the direction this book took.. I can’t even begin to get into it..
    I do not mind a little predictability in plots, but I saw so much of it coming from a mile away that I felt I did not even need to finish reading the book.
    Book one was not some spectacular work of dystopian fiction, but it was entertaining and I saw a lot of good potential for the series ahead.
    For this to be the “wrap up” of the series is quite a let down.
    Luckily there are so many other awesome books out there that I am not too sad about this.
    A little sad. I cannot lie.
    I enjoyed your review a lot.